Harish Rawat accepts his 'presence' in sting CD

Harish Rawat accepts his 'presence' in sting CD
Deposed Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat, who had so far been insisting the sting CD of him was "fake", today virtually accepted his presence in the video. He, however, said meeting a journalist was not a crime.

"Is meeting a journalist a crime? If one of the MLAs who had not been technically disqualified by that time talked to me ... how does it matter? Do we block any channels in politics?" Rawat told reporters here on the sidelines of a programme.

Claiming innocence, Rawat said if the CD contained evidence of him having made an offer in cash or kind in exchange for the support of disgruntled MLAs he was ready to be hanged in public.

"If any evidence is found against me like me offering money or post to anybody, hang me at Clock tower," he said. Clock tower is a busy chowk in the heart of the town.

However, from what the deposed chief minister said it was clear that a meeting did take place between him and the journalist who made the sting CD.

It is significant as Rawat had so far been challenging the veracity of the CD, calling it "fake".

"Why should anyone spend Rs 15 crore for me. The man (journalist) was saying something meaningless to while away my time and I said something to while away his. How does it matter? We keep saying things like this on a daily basis. Does that mean they should be used against us?" Rawat said.

The sting CD made by the editor-in-chief of a private news channel and circulated by the nine Congress rebels, who created a political crisis in the state by siding with opposition BJP in the state Assembly, purportedly shows Rawat negotiating a money deal with the journalist to buy the support of MLAs who had revolted against him.

Speaking at a programme on the occasion of Labour Day at the Congress headquarters here, Rawat alleged that since the formation of the BJP government at the Centre, the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah duo have been "attempting" to "bring down" democratically- elected government in non-BJP-ruled states.

Ever since Modi government came to power, it has been "neglecting" Uttarakhand, and when it failed to bring down the state regime by "money or muscle power," it "resorted to President's rule" to dislodge it, he further alleged.

The Modi-Shah duo have been "conspiring" to "systematically bring down" governments in states where BJP is not in power, he said.

The deposed chief minister claimed Congress has always worked in favour of labourers while the Centre has meted out "step-motherly treatment" to the Uttarakhand government in release of funds for various projects.

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